Category Archives: Missiles & Guided Weapons

Missile seekers

BAE Systems has received a $117 million contract from Lockheed Martin to produce next-generation missile seekers for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). The seeker technology enables LRASM to detect and engage specific maritime targets in contested environments with less dependence on traditional navigation systems. The next-generation seeker design reduces overall missile costs.

LRASM
Next-generation stealth missile seekers improve capability and affordability

«We’re committed to providing affordable systems that deliver unmatched capabilities to the U.S. and its allies», said Bruce Konigsberg, Radio Frequency Sensors product area director at BAE Systems. «We’ve designed efficient seeker systems that are easier to build and test without compromising on performance».

Following design improvements conducted under a Diminishing Sources/Affordability contract, BAE Systems is producing next-generation seekers for Lots 4 and 5 that are more capable and easier to produce, with less-complicated manufacturing processes. The next-generation seekers have replaced obsolescent and limited-availability parts, dramatically reducing the system cost.

The LRASM contract will support missiles for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. allies through Foreign Military Sales, as well as research, development, test, and evaluation services.

Type 45 destroyers

MBDA has been awarded a number of contracts to significantly upgrade the air and missile defence capabilities of the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers.

CAMM
MBDA’s CAMM to strengthen Air Defence capability of Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers

The work will see CAMM (Common Anti-air Modular Missile) paired with an upgraded Sea Viper Command and Control (C2) system for the first time. CAMM offers both world-leading close-in and local-area air defence, and will complement Aster 30, strengthening the anti-air defence capability of the Royal Navy.

Fitting CAMM onto the Type 45s will give the destroyers a 50% increase in the number of its air defence missiles. Installation will be via 24 additional launcher cells, and the Sea Viper C2 will get a technology upgrade, giving it a major increase in processing power.

The existing 48 Sylver cells on the Type 45 will now be solely for the longer-range Aster 30 missile, which is also subject to a recently announced mid-life refresh. This will see the missile remain in service throughout the life of the Type 45s.

CAMM has already been delivered to both the British Army and the Royal Navy, where it is the interceptor in both Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) and Naval-Based Air Defence (NBAD) systems, enabling these services to equip missiles from a shared stockpile.

In service on upgraded Royal Navy Type 23 frigates, CAMM will also be fitted to Type 26 and Type 31 in the future. The CAMM family has proven a rapid success with international customers, with Canada and Brazil among the new users ordering the missile this year.

Air defence missile

MBDA has successfully completed a firing of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile Extended Range CAMM-ER air defence missile against a manoeuvring target, confirming the excellent capability of the CAMM family system.

CAMM-ER
MBDA’s CAMM-ER successfully completes major milestone

The trial took place at an Italian firing range. CAMM-ER is the extended range member of the new-generation CAMM air defence family of systems.

All members of the CAMM family share the same cutting-edge active radar seeker and soft-launch system, with CAMM-ER featuring a larger rocket motor designed by AVIO to provide extended range out beyond 40 km/24.85 miles.

CAMM-ER was designed to replace the Aspide munition in the Medium Advanced Air Defence System (MAADS) of the Italian Air Force and the GRIFO air defence system of the Italian Army. CAMM-ER is the missile that will be used in the Albatros NG system, which provides an optimized Naval Based Air Defence (NBAD) solution to enhance the defence capabilities of naval fleets.

Organic Precision Fire

UVision Air Ltd. – a global leader in aerial loitering munitions systems of all sizes for a variety of missions, and the design and production company of the Hero-120 system, has been awarded through its Business Development partner, Mistral Inc. to supply the Hero-120 for the U.S. Marine Corps Organic Precision Fire Mounted (OPF-M) System. The system will be integrated with Light Armored Vehicle-Medium (LAV-M), Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), and Long-Range Unmanned Surface Vessel (LRUSV).

Hero-120 OPF-M
The HERO-120 OPF-M systems will be integrated into the Marines’ armoured vehicles, under a multi-year program

UVision’s Hero-120 OPF-M has been selected after the completion of several successful demonstrations, tests and evaluation processes, proving the remarkable performance capabilities of the system. The Hero-120 OPF-M will provide the Marines Corps with Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), highly accurate and precision indirect fire strike capabilities. In addition, UVision will supply its MultiCanister Launcher tailored to the specific requirements of the USMC and integrate onto the LAV, JLTV and the LRUSV.

The Hero-120 is a mid-range, anti-armor weapon system which meets the complex requirements of the modern battlefield. Hero-120 is a high precision smart loitering munition system with a unique aerodynamic structure that carries out pinpoint strikes against antiarmor, anti-material and anti-personnel targets including tanks, vehicles, concrete fortifications, and other soft targets in populated urban areas. The Hero-120’s high precision capability ensures minimal collateral damage. Its wide range of multi-purpose warheads enable the operational user to effectively engage all targets.

«We are proud to be selected by the Marines to provide advanced solutions for the U.S. frontline forces», says Major General (Retired) Avi Mizrachi, CEO of UVision. «The contract is a testament of our customers’ strong belief in our systems and their impressive technical performance. Our subsidiary, UVision USA, is in a process of establishing our U.S. based production facility to support the USMC OPF-M program».

 

Characteristics

Weight 12.5 kg
Warhead 4.5 kg
Range, Line of Sight (LOS) 40 km
Endurance 60 min
Engine Electrical
Launch method Canister

 

Multipurpose Munition

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, and Saab, proved the versatility and performance of the Guided Multipurpose Munition (GMM), which was fired from multiple launchers during a U.S. Army demonstration.

Guided Multipurpose Munition (GMM)
Disposable launcher and Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle score direct hits

The GMM System Capability Demonstration, a joint activity between Saab and Raytheon Missiles & Defense, was funded by the U.S. Army under a U.S. Government Rapid Innovation Funding (RIF) effort aimed at supporting the development of promising technologies that address military capability to meet operational needs. This was a three-year contract that culminated in a live-fire demonstration in November 2020.

«The GMM’s effectiveness and flexibility to fire from multiple launchers provides soldiers an advantage in accuracy and lethality in multi-domain operations», said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense, a Raytheon Missiles & Defense business. «We’re closer to delivering this much-needed weapon to ground forces around the globe».

From an enclosure, the GMM, formerly known as the Guided Carl-Gustaf Munition, was fired from both an AT4-derived disposable launcher and the Saab-built Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle, defeating different targets at distances from 1,550 to 2,500 meters/5,085 to 8,202 feet. The live-fire exercise demonstrated the munition’s fully integrated warhead and fuze against multiple targets, as well as its extended range precision and effectiveness from multiple launchers. The targets were triple brick wall, double-reinforced concrete wall, and up-armored vehicle.

«The GMM marks the next step in the evolution of our shoulder-launched systems. It is the most advanced munition yet and will offer greater precision, outstanding performance with pin-point accuracy, and multi-target capability», says Görgen Johansson, head of Saab’s Dynamics business area.

The GMM is the first precision-guided munition for Saab’s Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle, which is fielded in the U.S. and around the world. With the disposable launcher, which is a portable, single-use system, the GMM provides a valuable capability to squad and platoon level troops.

During a U.S. Army demonstration, Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Saab proved the versatility and performance of the Guided Multipurpose Munition, which was fired from multiple launchers

Hypersonic Strike System

The Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman team successfully conducted a significant live fire hypersonic strike system test in support of the U.S. Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) programs.

LRHW
Lockheed Martin successfully tests Navy’s Hypersonic Strike System

In this live fire ground test of the first stage solid rocket motor, the motor fired for the full trial duration and met performance parameters and objectives within anticipated ranges.

«We’re pleased to celebrate this important event with the U.S. Navy, Army and Northrup Grumman. This outcome today is due to our shared effort and determination to see this test on the Conventional Prompt Strike program succeed», said Steve Layne, Program Director of Conventional Strike Programs at Lockheed Martin. «This live fire event is a major milestone on the path to providing hypersonic strike capability to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army warfighters».

Northrop Grumman developed the motor and Lockheed Martin serves as the prime weapon systems integrator to provide boost capability to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army hypersonic strike missile.

«Northrop Grumman is proud to leverage our expertise in flight-proven solid rocket propulsion to support the nation’s efforts to develop an advanced end-to-end missile system capable of deterring emerging and future threats», said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman.

CPS is a hypersonic boost glide missile and weapon system that enables long range flight with high survivability against enemy defenses. CPS and LRHW share a common all up round that can be launched from surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers. The U.S. Department of Defense has made developing hypersonic strike systems a top mission priority and Lockheed Martin’s investment in hypersonic innovation dates back more than 30 years.

Passive Radio Sensors

KONGSBERG has placed an order with BAE Systems Australia to acquire an additional 180 Passive Radio Frequency Sensors (PRS) for its Joint Strike Missile (JSM).

Joint Strike Missile (JSM)
Australian technologies for Joint Strike Missile (JSM)

This completes the first full rate of production order for 200 PRS sensors and is the result of successful and efficient operations between the two companies over the past five years.

Following initial funding from the Australian Government, KONGSBERG and BAE Systems Australia have continued to invest in the development, qualification and integration of the Australian sensor providing additional capability to the fifth-generation, long-range, precision-guided, stand-off missile system.

KONGSBERG’s JSM is highly effective against maritime and land targets, and is the only anti-ship cruise missile that can be carried internally within the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

This allows the F-35 Lightning II to retain its range and stealth capabilities, making it highly suited to meet the RAAF’s F-35 Maritime Strike requirements under Project 3023 Phase 2.

The JSM is from the same family of missiles as the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) that was competitively selected by the U.S. Navy, and is also a candidate missile for Project SEA 1300 for the Royal Australian Navy.

This order demonstrates KONGSBERG’s willingness to work closely with Australian Defence Industry and BAE Systems Australia’s commitment to developing sovereign capability in Guided Weapons programs that will benefit the Australian Defence Force.

 

Kongsberg Defence Australia’s General Manager John Fry said:

«This latest export order with BAE Systems Australia further demonstrates KONGSBERG’s commitment to working with our Australian Industry partners on the development of world-leading sovereign guided weapon technology».

«The work that we are doing with BAE Systems Australia on JSM continues to build upon KONGSBERG’s legacy of collaboration with Australian companies on guided weapon production that commenced 25 years ago with the Australian manufacture of Penguin missile components».

«The global interest for JSM with the international F-35 Lightning II user community gives us confidence that the PRS will continue to be an outstanding export story for Australian Defence Industry».

 

BAE Systems Australia Managing Director Defence Delivery Andrew Gresham said:

«Achieving this major milestone in the JSM program provides an excellent example of how KONGSBERG, an international guided weapons provider and BAE Systems Australia, have successfully established an effective working relationship that supports design, development, integration and production activities in the field of guided weapons».

«This order demonstrates Australia’s ability to develop new, world leading sovereign technologies. The integration of this technology into a guided weapon will provide the Australian Defence Force with a leading edge defence capability».

«Our collaboration and success in developing this sensor for the JSM also showcases how Australia can compete on the world stage and export innovative defence technologies».

MMP from a Jaguar

On 14 April, MBDA and Nexter participated in the first lock-on firing of an MMP medium-range missile from a Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle (EBRC). The French defence procurement agency (DGA) carried out the firing at their Land Techniques Test Centre as part of the JAGUAR qualification. Launched from the retractable pod on the Jaguar’s turret in two-missile configuration, the MMP successfully hit its target.

MMP
First firing of MMP from a Jaguar armoured vehicle

 

The integration of MMP onto JAGUAR is being carried out in stages during qualification. This firing is the first stage, successfully demonstrating hitting a fixed target. The system will offer the capability to destroy fixed or mobile hardened land targets, including up to the latest generation of tanks. Targeting will be direct or beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS). It will also be precise and with minimal collateral damage, qualities that characterise the MMP.

MMP’s capabilities – integrated into the Jaguar’s turret by Nexter, alongside the remote controlled weapon station developed by Arquus, the Scorpion common vetronics solution developed by Thales and the 40mm cannon developed by CTAI – gives the Jaguar a key role in collaborative combat.

During this demonstration, the Optrolead PASEO battlefield surveillance sight interfaced with the missile system, offering real-time optronic acquisition by day and by night. This gives the Jaguar excellent long-range observation and identification capabilities.

Frédéric Michaud, Head of Battlefield Sector for Sales & Business Development at MBDA, said: «This firing marks an important first step of the work conducted with Nexter to develop the Jaguar turret and integrate the MMP into a weapon system built on the latest technological solutions. This two-missile turret configuration considerably expands the vehicle’s firepower».

David Marquette, Jaguar project manager at Nexter, hailed the exceptional work of the programme team on this critically important system integration project: «This marks a major milestone, demonstrating the technical skills of our teams in designing and developing an operational capability unlike any other in the world».

Flight Test Shots

The Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) joint program office completed the second live fire test of the new AIM‑120D-3 missile variant, incorporating upgraded hardware into the guidance section on May 12.

AIM‑120D-3
AMRAAM Completes Two Free Flight Test Shots

The weapon safely launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet and flew the expected flight path over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range in California. Preliminary analysis provided by the prime contractor, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, indicates all primary and secondary objectives of the shot were met.

«Completing the first two free flight shots of upgraded hardware and software is a significant milestone in the integration and test phase of the new AIM-120D-3 missile», said Colonel Sean Bradley, AMRAAM Senior Materiel Leader at the U.S. Air Force’s Armament Directorate. «These successes are important to the overall execution of the Form, Fit, Function Refresh (F3R) program; a program implemented to address an increasing number of production challenges due to obsolescence of various electronic components within the AIM-120».

Combined with software upgrades, AIM-120D-3 will deliver advanced capabilities to improve missile effectiveness against advanced threats for Air Force, Navy, and Allied Partners. This missile shot from an F/A-18F Super Hornet tested the missile’s safe separation autopilot and free-flight navigation capabilities.

Together, with the first shot on December 9, 2020, these shots represent a critical first in a series of developmental flight tests that provides crucial data to assess the missile’s ability to acquire, track and guide to targets.

AMRAAM is the world’s most sophisticated, combat-proven air dominance weapon. With AIM-120D-3 production deliveries beginning in 2023, the AIM-120 missile will continue to meet warfighter requirements in all weather and beyond visual range engagements. Its capabilities have been fully demonstrated in over 4,900 test shots and more than 13 air-to-air combat victories.

Anti-Radiation Missile

The U.S. Navy completed an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) captive carry flight on an F/A-18 Super Hornet April 22 at Patuxent River in support of the first live fire event this spring.

AARGM-ER
An F/A-18 Super Hornet flies with an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) during a captive carry flight test at Patuxent River Air Station in Maryland. The U.S. Navy is integrating AARGM-ER on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will be compatible for integration of the F-35 Lightning II (U.S. Navy photo)

This flight marked the first time the AARGM-ER weapon demonstrated it could communicate with the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The Separation Test Vehicle (STV) used its hardware and software to facilitate the controlled free flight.

«Data collected from this testing will support expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER to the full performance envelope of F/A-18 Super Hornet», said Captain Mitch Commerford, program manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242). «This flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER engineering and manufacturing development phase».

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate compatibility of the AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The test points completed during this flight test event substantiated F/A-18 Super Hornet carriage compatibility.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will be compatible for integration of the F-35 Lightning II. By leveraging the U.S. Navy’s AARGM program that’s in Full Rate Production, the AARGM-ER with a new rocket motor and warhead will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.